Ween me on stories of Aberdeen

Hello! I’m just back* from Aberdeen, where I spent a charming weekend visiting my friend Paula. The trip was bookended with late, late budget airline flights, adding further insult to the injury of not being able to afford the train. I arrived back at my london flat at 3am last night, slept on my handContinue reading “Ween me on stories of Aberdeen”

Dunwich Dynamo 2015: third time lonely

Last weekend was the Dunwich Dynamo, that fun non-race where you cycle from London Fields overnight to mock the watery remains of an important 13th century port at some point the following morning. Or afternoon, if you’re particularly slow or unlucky. I wrote about the Dynamo last year for the Grauniad’s bike blog; I thoughtContinue reading “Dunwich Dynamo 2015: third time lonely”

Asahi-dake: sure there’s a mountain around here somewhere

Hello readers! I’m writing this as my train winds its way around the southern Hokkaido coast on its way from Sapporo to Hakodate, hills to our right and the sea to our left. We just passed the beautiful-looking Sapporo to Ueno (Tokyo) sleeper, a bit of a surprise as I’d been assured it had ceasedContinue reading “Asahi-dake: sure there’s a mountain around here somewhere”

The ferry to Hokkaido: a journey from Tokyo to Sapporo 

The gradual demise of sleeper trains around the world is a bugger for someone like me, who loathes flying and will do almost anything to avoid it. Up until a few months ago, you could take a sleeper from Tokyo up to Japan’s northernmost main island, Hokkaido. But with daytime Shinkansen now making their wayContinue reading “The ferry to Hokkaido: a journey from Tokyo to Sapporo “

A picture a day keeps the context away: Japan diary part 3

Since I wrote about DYRTFT2, I have posted the odd vignette but I haven’t maintained a day-to-day diary like part of my brain and versions of my past self reckon I should. So here’s a brief, hopefully memory-evoking* skip through the past few weeks of living in Tokyo. I will try to limit myself toContinue reading “A picture a day keeps the context away: Japan diary part 3”

“The restaurant was not revolving.” Walking up Mount Tsukuba 

Japan is a land of splendid trains, but not quite as many as there once were. The car is king here, just as it is most places. The relative decline of the train outside the major trunk lines and urban centres means it’s hard to get to good hiking spots without a car, or beingContinue reading ““The restaurant was not revolving.” Walking up Mount Tsukuba “

A wander from Meidaimae to Ebisu, Tokyo

I am stood in my Ballardian high-rise in Meidaimae, a suburb in the west of Tokyo, staring out east towards the skyscrapers of Shinjuku. Richard Hawley’s Tonight The Streets Are Ours is in my head. I can see, vaguely, where I want to be going – Ebisu, a bit south of Shibuya. At least, i convinceContinue reading “A wander from Meidaimae to Ebisu, Tokyo”

Oh but you know that we’ve changed so much since then – Japan diary pt 2 

Day four: Koenji, or dance like there’s nobody watching  The exit polls were promising. Buoyed by a fun and busy first attempt at re-Britpopping the good people of Tokyo at March’s Do You Remember The First Time, we were confident the second iteration of the club night would go just as well. We spent theContinue reading “Oh but you know that we’ve changed so much since then – Japan diary pt 2 “